Stay informed with the
Recent Articles
Best of Alan Krigman

# Why does the casino charge a commission on winning Banker bets at Baccarat?

14 January 2013

Question: I've noticed that bets on Player and Banker at baccarat get paid full value. But, if you win on Banker, they keep tabs of a commission, which you refund before leaving the game. Is this fee charged because you're betting with, not against, the house?

Answer: That's a good way to look at it. Player expects to win 446 and Banker 458 of every 1,000 rounds. The other 96 are ties.

Imagine \$10 wagers on Player in each of 1,000 rounds. In theory, 446 wins pay the bettor \$4,460 while 458 losses cost \$4,580. The expected profit for the casino is \$4,580 - \$4,460 or \$120, reflecting the statistical edge the house has on the bet.

Now picture \$10 wagers on Banker in each of 1,000 rounds. In theory, 458 wins pay the bettor \$4,580 while 446 losses cost \$4,460. The casino therefore expects to lose \$4,580 - \$4,460 or \$120. To regain an edge on this bet, the casino charges a commission -- normally 5 percent. The casino still pays out \$4,580 but it collects \$4,460 plus 5 percent of \$4,580 or \$229. With this, expected house profit is \$4,460 + \$229 - \$4,580 or \$109.

Theoretical expectations prove to be reliable when millions of comparably-sized bets are lumped together. For many fewer rounds, high random fluctuations can swamp the low-level average trends. So individual players may be way ahead or behind what's predicted based solely on the edge inherent in the game.